The Crusader Kings board game launches in August

(Image credit: Free League)

The Crusader Kings board game will be gracing tabletops very soon, letting you plot and fight and spawn incompetent heirs while your opponents, the other great European dynasties, sit across from you. You'll be able to start your conquest of medieval Europe on August 1. 

Paradox announced a few board game adaptations last year, which is fitting for a company that started by adapting a board game, Europa Universalis. Crusader Kings, the PC version, shares a lot of EU's systems and already has a lot in common with tabletop strategy romps, so it seems well suited. 

Like its PC counterpart, Crusader Kings is driven by characters rather than nations. Players can marry off members of their dynasty and make them have kids, and these characters all come with positive and negative traits that affect the outcome of actions. If the King is a horny, mean idiot, you'll have a bunch of negative tokens in your pool that are drawn at random, increasing the chance of failure. 

Jon Bolding and I played a few rounds at last year's PDXcon and, while elements may have been tweaked since then, it was almost as deft as generating stories as Crusader Kings 2. It's not a tight, balanced strategy game, but it creates surprisingly compelling yarns out of random events and bickering players. There's a great deal of interaction between dynasties, with everything being up for sale and lots of ways to screw over the opposition.   

The Crusader Kings board game is due out on August 1 and preorders are available now on publisher Free League's store. If you're going to be at Gen Con this year, you'll be able to check it out at Free League and Paradox's booths.

Fraser Brown
Online Editor

Fraser is the UK online editor and has actually met The Internet in person. With over a decade of experience, he's been around the block a few times, serving as a freelancer, news editor and prolific reviewer. Strategy games have been a 30-year-long obsession, from tiny RTSs to sprawling political sims, and he never turns down the chance to rave about Total War or Crusader Kings. He's also been known to set up shop in the latest MMO and likes to wind down with an endlessly deep, systemic RPG. These days, when he's not editing, he can usually be found writing features that are 1,000 words too long or talking about his dog.